Weekly Update - 26th March
Dear sisters and brothers
Like many people, one of the things that I like best about this time of year is Cream Eggs! This year we are told that it is the 50th anniversary of their first appearing on our shelves. I find it hard to believe that they’ve been around that long, but then one of my favourite childhood memories involves Cream Eggs. It was around this time of year that I would be undertaking the long and boring task of studying for school exams. It was never my favourite occupation. But every now and then I would hear the low cluck of (someone pretending to be) a chicken; my door would slowly open and my mother would appear to drop a Cream Egg into my hand. Don’t tell anyone, but I have continued that family tradition.
It is amazing how quickly little things can change our mood. We know that to be true in so many ways: a day that starts so brightly can quickly be derailed by something going wrong; feeling sorry for ourselves can be lifted by the phone call of an old friend; and of course, at the moment, our mood can easily go up and down with the latest news regarding the pandemic (so many happy faces and lightened spirits at the prospect of a hair appointment!).
This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, when we remember the crowds cheering Jesus and waving palm branches as he rode a donkey into Jerusalem. It can be one of the most fun and up-lifting Sunday services of the year. But it is also known as Passion Sunday as it leads us into the ever darkening days of Holy Week and eventually to the Cross. It’s easy to be “up” at the beginning of Palm Sunday and in the depths by the end: indeed we probably should have something of those feelings if we truly understand it.
In Luke’s telling of the Triumphal Entry, however, we have the odd little detail of the Pharisees telling Jesus to rebuke his noisy disciples. “I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out”. It reminds me of a gospel song from a few years ago which had the wonderful line, “I ain’t gonna let no rock out praise me!”. If we do not worship God – God will still be worshiped, because God is always and forever worthy of worship. As someone once said, you can always find good reason to give praise to God.
I want to encourage you, throughout Holy Week, to pay close attention to the story. It should raise in you feelings of grief and sadness because it is a story of the suffering of us all and what Jesus suffered for us. But I also want to urge you to continue to worship and give thanks to God through-out the week, because only then might we see the wonder and grace of what God was and is doing through the willing sacrifice of his Son. If we can learn to do that, then we can learn to worship and praise God in every circumstance: and not only will that lift our spirits, but we will be doing the very thing we were made to do.
May you know the strength and patience of God to carry you through Holy Week.
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587